Members of Cuseum win People's Choice Award at Philadelphia Museum of Art Hackathon

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This past weekend, members of the Cuseum team headed down to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for its first ever Power of Art hackathon. We wanted to show our support for the museum’s initiative towards creative innovation and also to test out some new concepts we’ve been exploring and brewing up in our laboratory. As you may know by now, we’re a bunch of museum geeks, so we were beyond excited to participate.

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Museum staff welcomed hackers, designers, programmers, and people of all backgrounds to build something innovative, social, and engaging - the key ingredients of most successful digital projects. After hours of immersion, brainstorming, pixel-pushing, and programming, teams presented their projects to a panel of judges and staff.

You In The Art

Our team presented “You In The Art,” a visitor-first mobile experience to help drive engagement and discovery. We wanted to challenge the notion of relevance, discovery, and started with a simple question from the visitor’s perspective:

“How is this relevant to me?”

Start with the visitor.

We often tell ourselves that most things we do are guided by user-centric methodologies, so why not build an experience completely around the visitor?

This comes with many challenges. If you ask the visitors for information upfront, you’re building a barrier with steps, boxes to check, fields to fill out, etc. Additionally, while in theory, interesting, if you generate a tour based off of visitor preferences, you’re limiting exposure to new things they wouldn’t otherwise experience. We wanted to avoid these pitfalls.

Let’s keep it simple.

If Apple has taught of anything, it’s that simplicity is golden. We took a minimalist approach; no menu, no tabs, only one call-to-action per screen, and no visual clutter. We wanted to ensure that this app could be used by anyone and everyone with no barrier to use.

The Pitch

What if visitors could simply take a selfie and be guided to a work of art in the museum based on their facial expression?

See our slide deck for the inside scoop:

We were inspired by what we saw at the museum and impressed by the awesomeness and openness of the staff. Thank you Philadelphia Museum of Art for the opportunity to participate in your hackathon.

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In the end, we were thrilled that “You In The Art” won the People’s Choice Award and hope that we’ll be able to bring this to life in the near future!

Special thanks to Elizabeth Dobrska from TUGG for being a part of our team and the Cuseum family.